It was not that long ago that a journey in the car was not as easy as it is today. If you were planning a day out you’d spend the evening before searching for the trusted AA map and then writing down the route on a piece of paper (after many an argument.) Then the internet arrived and we took our pieces of paper into the corner of the room, sat down in front of a monitor and still jotted down the route ready for the next day (maybe with slightly fewer arguments.) Next, we had printers small enough to have in the house, meaning that we could finally remove the pen and paper and we could click ‘print’ (arguments about who used the last of the ink are new though.) After that we come to dedicated Sat Navs. What wonders of technology, expensive to buy, expensive to update, unusual routes chosen, indeed the RAC had this to say http://www.rac.co.uk/community/blog/rac-blog/april-2013/satellite-navigation-stories I think we can all agree that there was still room for improvement! With the advent of mobile smart phones and the improvements in their computing power the next logical step was to combine the route planning and mapping of a Sat Nav with the ease of use of a smartphone. Fast forward to today and what is it that we’re looking at?
CoPilot GPS is the latest update of the successful CoPilot smart phone Sat Nav and is available for both Android and IOS phones depending on which operating system you prefer. Back in the day, when the HTC Magic was the latest and greatest Android mobile, (ask your parents) I was able to pick up an early version of CoPilot for the not unreasonable sum of £24.99 from the Google Play Store. Now here comes the best bit, although I paid for this App approximately six or seven years ago, I have just recently uploaded the newest version onto my latest mobile phone at no extra cost. Once paid for, the App can be added to each new phone as you upgrade over time indeed, the latest updates to CoPilot GPS make transferring the App, data and settings easier than it has ever been! That’s correct, pay once and the App is yours and will receive updates to the maps and system for as long as you need. Impressive stuff.
So how does it work in ‘real world’ motoring, after all, that’s what you and I are concerned with, can it be relied upon to get you where you want to go and ultimately, should it be your next purchase?
Perhaps the most important advice to be given, once the decision to purchase has been made, is that you’ll need to be connected to WiFi to download as the App and chosen maps can come in at nearly 500MB for the UK and Ireland and will take up a considerable chunk of your contracted data otherwise. The good news is that this only needs to be done once as the maps are then loaded onto your phones SD card, this means that you don’t need to be connected to the web to use your Sat Nav, unlike some other free options, which means that you shouldn’t be able to get lost anymore! The options available to set up CoPilot GPS exactly how you like it to be are varied and numerous as they include useful features such as speed camera warnings, speed limit warnings, display changes and even different voices to be guided by. My own personal favourite is Emily as she has a voice that seems to encourage obedience from the driver…
Upon opening the App you are politely greeted and invited to input your destination. This can be completed in a number of different ways, by city or postcode, by saved favourite locations or by the coordinates or OS details themselves. If you input the city or postcode the next prompt is for the street name, then the building number followed by an overhead map view where you have a number of further options available, for example, you can check that you have the correct destination programmed in, a surprisingly useful feature! A further option from here is where you can select a different journey from up to three alternative routes which give you alternative times and distances to compare as well as an option to avoid motorways, toll roads and the like. By clicking on the large blue rectangle you are also provided with further choices as to whether you want to edit different stops into your journey, add the destination to your favourites, check the weather at your destination or post to Twitter or Facebook once arrived. The options appear quite endless but are simple to use and really add to the feelings of quality you get when using this App.
Once travelling along your chosen route it is easy to notice that the layout for CoPilot GPS is clear, easy to use and shows you exactly what you need to see with the route stretching out in front of you. At the bottom of the screen is the distance to your destination, the distance to your next turn or roundabout, your E.T.A. and road details. On the main part of the screen is your route, marked out in purple, road names, programmable Points Of Interest, you as either a red circle if stopped or a red triangle if travelling and a traffic bar in green if you have paid an additional £6.99 for one year. The route constantly scrolls as you drive, with CoPilot GPS recalculating the route if you have had to deviate for any reason. I find CoPilot ridiculously easy to follow whilst driving with a quick glace being more than sufficient as the visuals work well on screen sizes from 3.2″ right up to the larger 5.7″ phablets and beyond.
Overall, I think it’s safe to say that CoPilot GPS gets the MotorMartin seal of approval, indeed, it’s the only Sat Nav that I use. It’s got access to the tiniest roads across the North Wales Peninsula, the country routes across deserted Norfolk fens and the major roads criss crossing the country. Once you’ve invested in a phone holder and car charger, as it does require some juice, you are set to explore all four corners of this country and beyond.
Head on over to http://alk.com for Android and IOS links as well as a mass of support material from CoPilot themselves. There’s no excuse, what else offers the same level of customisations, ease of use and all at such a fantastic price?
Where will you go?